Rams si­lence Tigers' roar, com­plete sweep

The Covington News - - SPORTS - MATT SMITH msmith@cov­news.com

The Tigers might not have proven much of a test, but the Newton Rams var­sity bas­ket­ball team didn’t take Al­covy any less se­ri­ously Fri­day night than it would any other op­po­nent.

The Rams came out ready to play from the first whis­tle, us­ing an 11-0 first-quar­ter run to fuel a 72-35 vic­tory over Al­covy on the road.

The win moves Newton to 6-2 in the re­gion and still fight­ing for a No. 1 seed in the re­gion tour­na­ment, while the Tigers drop to 2-17 over­all while still search­ing for a win over a team not named Druid Hills.

Three dif­fer­ent Rams fin­ished in dou­ble fig­ures, led by guard Jalen Glover, who scored eight in the first quar­ter. Newton con­nected on seven 3-point­ers, while forc­ing 20 Al­covy turnovers in a game that coach Rick Ras­mussen said was im­por­tant if the Rams hoped to con­tend for a re­gion ti­tle.

“I thought it was another good game by our guys tonight,” Ras­mussen said. “We didn’t take Al­covy lightly at all. We re­spected that it was a re­gion game and it meant a lot. We’re try­ing to hold our po­si­tion in the re­gion and hope­fully move up. Ev­ery game is im­por­tant."

Newton started its scor­ing early, rush­ing out to an 11-point ad­van­tage. Guard D.J. Hill found Glover open for a 3-pointer for the Rams’ first score of the con­test, and sec­onds later, Tay­lor Hawkins picked off an Al­covy pass and con­verted it into a layup to put the Rams ahead 5-0.

A pair of layups from Hill and a bas­ket from Keion Sims ended the Rams’ run be­fore the Tigers’ Kevin Reina knocked down a free throw for the Tigers’ first point of the night. LaReco Her­ring drained a 3-pointer on Al­covy’s next pos­ses­sion, but the bas­ket was the last for the Tigers in the first half, as Newton had a 9-0 spurt to take a 20-4 ad­van­tage into the sec­ond pe­riod.

Al­covy played the Rams tight in the sec­ond quar­ter. Newton outscored the Tigers 11-10 in the pe­riod, push­ing its lead to 20 af­ter Hill found

Glover near the base­line for an ally-oop over the Tigers’ de­fense.

Her­ring scored five straight points for the Tigers in the pe­riod, knock­ing down a 3-pointer and an el­bow jumper, trim­ming Newton’s ad­van­tage to 28-12 with 3:11 re­main­ing in the first half. Her­ring’s bas­kets were part of a 7-0 run for Al­covy af­ter Cameron Banks hit a jumper. A Hawkins bas­ket and Sims free throw took the Rams into the half lead­ing 31-14.

Newton con­tin­ued pour­ing it on in the sec­ond half, outscor­ing Al­covy 42-21.

Newton hit a trio of 3-point­ers from Glover, Hill and Darvin Jones,a nd Al­covy went score­less for more than three min­utes in the quar­ter, al­low­ing Newton to push its lead to 50-22 en­ter­ing the fourth.

The Rams dou­bled up the Tigers 22-11 in the pe­riod, grow­ing their lead to as many as 38 points. Devonte Long hit back-to-back 3-point­ers for the Tigers, get­ting Al­covy back within 32 with 2:27 left in the game, but Newton closed the quar­ter on a 6-2 run, in­clud­ing nine points from Keon­dre McKibben over the fi­nal eight min­utes.

Sims and Hill joined Glover in dou­ble fig­ures with 13 and 10 points, re­spec­tively, while Her­ring led the Tigers with eight.

Al­covy in­terim coach Eric Hol­lier said that against the Rams his team looked listless, de­spite see­ing im­prove­ment over the three pre­vi­ous games.

“Tonight’s game did not go the way I en­vi­sioned it,” Hol­lier said. “The guys have been do­ing a good job of play­ing well over the last three games, but tonight, it just wasn’t there. Per­haps fa­tigue was a fac­tor, but the guys just didn’t play as well as they have the last three days.”

Lady Rams win

It took al­most three quar­ters for the Lady Rams to look like them­selves Fri­day night, but Newton poured on 20 points in the fourth quar­ter to earn its eighth re­gion vic­tory of the sea­son, de­feat­ing ri­val Al­covy 64-48 on the road.

De­an­dra Reed led the Lady Rams with 13 points, in­clud­ing a pair of 3-point­ers in the first half, but Newton couldn’t shake the Lady Tigers (6-15, 4-5) off in the open­ing three pe­ri­ods.

Lead­ing by just six head­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter of play, Newton outscored the Lady Tigers by eight, go­ing 7-of-11 from the free-throw line in the sec­ond half while turn­ing Al­covy over 11 times in the fi­nal 16 min­utes.

Newton coach Tif­fani John­son said the Lady Rams faced a hint of ad­ver­sity be­fore the start of the game, but she was proud of the way her team re­sponded to im­prove its record to 13-6 over­all.

“At the be­gin­ning of the game, we had an emo­tional start,” John­son said. “Ev­ery­one’s fo­cus was off, so we got a slow start. I told them at half­time that ad­ver­sity makes you strong, so we needed to play through some of the ex­ter­nal stuff."

Lead­ing 44-36 to start the fourth, Newton grew its lead to dou­ble dig­its, open­ing the quar­ter on a 10-0 run.

So­nia For­ney started the Newton run with a layup af­ter grab­bing a loose ball un­der­neath the Lady Rams’ bas­ket, and point guard Pre­cious Price knocked down back-to-back bas­kets, push­ing Newton’s lead to 48-36 with 5:26 to go.

Al­covy’s Kiara Bagby ended the Newton run with a 3-pointer from the left wing a minute later, but For­ney scored in­side the paint, giv­ing Newton a steady 54-41 ad­van­tage.

The Lady Tigers hit a pair of 3-point­ers in the fi­nal two min­utes, threat­en­ing Newton’s lead, but Price, For­ney and Cyn­te­ria Langhorne com­bined to go 4-of-4 from the char­ity stripe dur­ing the stretch, al­low­ing Newton to hang on for the 16-point win.

“One of the two big­gest things to fo­cus on dur­ing a game is re­bound­ing and hit­ting your free throws,” John­son said. “They did a good job of both tonight.”

Newton led by five af­ter half­time, tak­ing a 25-20 lead into the third quar­ter. Reed scored first for the Lady Rams in the quar­ter on a 3-pointer, but Daja Barnes an­swered with a 3-pointer of her own on Al­covy’s next pos­ses­sion, trim­ming Newton’s lead to 28-25 with 6:58 left in the quar­ter.

Al­covy and Newton traded bas­kets, and the Lady Tigers cut Newton’s lead to one on a Tierra Hodges’ free throw. But the Lady Rams ended the quar­ter on a 9-6 run, high­lighted by a six-point scor­ing out­burst from Langhorne. Shay Lawrence added a 3-pointer for Newton dur­ing the run to ex­tend Newton’s lead to six.

Down 11-9 in the sec­ond quar­ter, Al­covy took the lead with a 4-1 run to open the pe­riod, go­ing up 13-12 on a Kei­dra Sears re­bound and put­back. Newton bat­tled back to tie the game af­ter Imani Broad­nax scored off her own miss, part of her six points in the quar­ter, and Newton took the lead for good on a pair of Lawrence free throws.

Al­covy con­verted just two field goals over the fi­nal six min­utes of the half, al­low­ing Newton to go on a 13-6 run to end the quar­ter.

Newton led 11-9 af­ter the first pe­riod, with Reed scor­ing seven in the quar­ter to pace the Lady Rams.

For­ney joined Reed in dou­ble fig­ures with 11 points, while Hodges led Al­covy with 13.

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Newton guard Jalen Glover sneaks be­hind the Al­covy de­fense, fin­ish­ing an al­ley-oop pass from team­mate D.J. Hill with a dunk. Glover fin­ished with 16 points to lead Newton to a 72-35 win over its ri­vals.

An­thony Banks/The Cov­ing­ton News

Newton's De­an­dra Reed paced the Lady Rams with 13 points, in­clud­ing seven in the first quar­ter, in Newton's 64-48 vic­tory over Al­covy Fri­day night.

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